Hanging Rock and Dan River Report
- One thing the regulars have learned about camping at Hanging Rock State Park and paddling the Dan River in the spring is that you rig for rain. I mean it is necessary to be "tarp city" up there. I have dubbed the place "Hanging Rock Rain State Park". When the ranger came around and welcomed us back, Wednesday when Sandy and I arrived to give you the car pass, we discussed the weather and he said, "That's right, it seems to rain when you guys come up here". Boy he has us pegged. We arrived Wednesday like I said and Wayne & Lynda Charles, and Myron and Dorcas were already set up. Diane & Tom Pangborn soon arrived along with Mike Britt who came to set up his camp and then go back to pick up Liz on Thursday. Tom & Christine Goodwin came Wednesday but they were staying in a cabin for two nights. On Thursday, Wayne led the trip on the Dan River on section 3 from Jessup's Mill down to Hwy 704 and reported the water level was really good and two people were baptized by the Dan River. Those paddling with him were Lynda, Myron, Dorcas, Tom, Christine and a fairly new member Kyle Harrison who lives in Walkertown, NC about an hour from the park who showed up that morning. Sandy and I stayed in camp as I had to work on my battery for my Aliner, more money to shell out now as it had died. During the day on Thursday the rest of the campers arrived; Rudy Floyd, Peggy Caddis, Steven Caddis, John & Sue Shell, Betty Fisher and later Mike came back with Liz. Two days now without rain. Friday morning Omer Register arrived and told us about his camper breaking down and having to go back home and come back with another vehicle. He got to Danbury at 11 pm and slept in the hospital parking lot until the park gates opened at 8 am. Friday the trip on the Dan River was from the park at Danbury, NC down to Hemlock Golf Course about 9 miles. Everyone paddled except Sandy, Sue and the Goodwin's as they went home. Kyle even came back to paddle that day with us. Weather on Friday was good and water level was even better. Only one person on this trip got baptized. Friday night the rains finally decided it was time to move in on us and it poured, thundered, even some lightening. Most of the night, the rains came and made for good sleeping. On Saturday, Wayne decided to lead another trip on Section 3 from Jessup's Mill to Hwy 704 again and those paddling with him were Lynda, Myron in his solo canoe, John, Stephen and Omer. Wayne reported another good trip with good water level, the best he state he had seen. On Saturday, I led a trip on the short section from Hanging Rock Park access down to Danbury Park, and those paddling were Rudy, Kyle, Tom & Diane, Mike & Liz. Rudy did the shuttle for this trip and did not have his car damaged like what happened on the Lumber weeks ago. We were off and the rains held off until we got to a gravel bar about 3 miles into the trip when we stopped for lunch. The rain gear came out; Mike even put a white plastic bag over his torso with arms cut out. One person again was baptized on this section and the rains held off when we arrived at our take out. Saturday afternoon, a college fraternity brother, Steve Culver, who works at Foothills Brewery in Winston Salem, NC showed up and set up his tent on our site. Several of us were concerned about rain for the Saturday night's covered dish and heavy hors d' oeuvres so we decided to have it at the covered picnic shelter. A very nice shelter with picnic tables and even a great fireplace which we used. We had all types of food and thanks to everyone that brought a dish, too numerous to remember but it was delicious. Sunday, the day most people leave to go home but others stayed and Wayne led another trip in the rain from Hwy 704 access to Hanging Rock State park access, about 13 miles. Other than the rain he reported a good trip. Those that went were Lynda, Myron, Dorcas and Omer. Sandy, myself, and Steve spent Sunday moving our chairs in and out of the rain under the tarp. Steve and I rode around the park looking for firewood that people had left when the packed up and we found plenty. After the paddle trip Omer only had the dry jump suit he owned on himself, and decided to go home. Sunday night was pretty clear and a nice fire was made at our campsite and we were joined by Wayne, Lynda, Myron and Dorcas. Sunday night the wind was blowing and was hoping it would continue to dry out the tarps but must have rained sometime during the night as morning stuff was wet again but no rain. After packing we hooked up the Aliner and drove around to say our goodbyes to Wayne, Lynda, Myron and Dorcas as they all lived closer to the park and did not have a long way to travel home. Despite the rain we all had a good time, good paddles, and friendships. I do plan on buying a bigger tarp to put over the kitchen area of the camp, so let it rain.